Six steps towards an atmosphere of discussion

We have been thinking of ways to make Fiblon an even better workplace than before. Somewhat surprisingly, we’ve come to the conclusion that we should work on improving our atmosphere of discussion. A true discussion consists of listening, presence and a genuine interest towards other people’s opinions. Put your hand on your heart – how often do you really give open discussion a chance? The recipe for open discussion consists of at least six essential ingredients:

 

1. Presence

An atmosphere of discussion can only exist if everyone is actively present. Your mind needs to be where your physical body is.

2. Listening

Listening is crucially important in any conversation. Listening is more than just being quiet. You need to be actively interested in hearing what the other person thinks. “I listen to understand, not to reply”.

3. Flexibility of opinion

If your opinion is locked in place even before the conversation, there cannot be a real conversation. Make sure you are prepared to change your opinion when faced with a good argument. There can be no room for conversation if your opinion is completely locked and you don’t really want to hear what the other person has to say.

4. Willingness to let go of prejudice

Pay attention to how your own prejudices affect your views on the conversation itself or on other people’s opinions or actions. If you believe that a conversation is useless or that the decisions made will never be implemented, it is easy to see how that could affect the atmosphere.

5. Courage, openness and honesty

It takes courage to get to the point instead of avoiding difficult topics. Openness regarding the real situations and causes. Honesty towards oneself and others. This also includes the ability to accept failure.

6. Focusing on your own work

Through your own attitude, you can help create a more open atmosphere of discussion. When you focus on yourself instead of others, you know for certain that you have the power to change things. You have power over what you do – what others do is a different matter.

As we have started to figure out the recipe, we now have some tools for improving the atmosphere of discussion. There is still a lot of work to be done, though. Our theme for this year, understanding differences, definitely requires an open atmosphere if we want to make progress. That’s why it is fantastic that we are another step closer to providing a better workplace for everyone!

 

The writer is a second generation family entrepreneur.

 

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